Simon Willison’s Weblog

252 items tagged “google”

Googlebot’s Javascript random() function is deterministic. random() as executed by Googlebot returns the same predicable sequence. More interestingly, Googlebot runs a much faster timer for setTimeout and setInterval—as Tom Anthony points out, “Why actually wait 5 seconds when you are a bot?” # 7th February 2018, 2:41 am

Cloud SQL for PostgreSQL adds high availability and replication. Google Cloud Platform now offers PostgreSQL with automatic asynchronous disk-level replication to a separate instance in a different availability zone, via their new “Regional Disks“ feature. Between this, Heroku, Citus and Amazon RDS the appeal of a self-maintained PostgreSQL instance continues to fall. # 7th November 2017, 1:49 pm

Oxford Deep NLP 2017 course (via) Slides, course description and links to lecture videos for the 2017 Deep Natural Language Processing course at the University of Oxford presented by a team from Google DeepMind. # 31st October 2017, 8:39 pm

The Xi Text Engine CRDT (via) Xi is “a modern editor with a backend written in Rust”—an open-source text editor project from Google built on some very interesting computer science (Conflict-free Replicated Data Types). It’s a native editor with server-backed synchronization as a first-class concept. # 13th October 2017, 10:32 pm

Facets. New open source visualization and data exploration tool from Google (“Disclaimer: This is not an official Google product”, whatever that means). It’s intended for visualizing machine learning datasets but it’s obviously useful outside of ML as well—any time you need to understand a large dataset this looks like it could be extremely useful. Ships with example jupyter notebooks and an easy mechanism for embedding the Facets interactive UI directly inside a notebook cell. # 8th October 2017, 12:21 am

Aside from Google I/O, does Google organize any other conferences?

They run a whole bunch, but many of them aren’t widely advertised—they have a lot of invite-only events for customers of their advertising tools, for example, and there are things like the Google Analytics Summit.

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Why doesn’t Google use their resources to improve coding languages?

Google invest vast resources in to language improvements, and have been doing so for over a decade now. Just off the top of my head...

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What computers do Google engineers use when doing heavy programming?

Loads of people at Google use Macs. Google as a company is way too smart to stop using a good product just because it is produced by a competitor.

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What’s it like being an attendee at Google I/O?

It’s a fantastic opportunity to spend quality time with the Google employees who built the APIs you build software on top of—the core Android team, the Google Maps people, the Chrome engineers etc. it’s kind of like Apple’s WWDC in that regard—short of going to work for Google there is no better way to meet and interrogate that many expert Google engineers in one place.

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Can I pitch my app idea to google?

You could pitch it to Google Ventures, but you’ll need a lot more than just the idea.

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What has Google given out at I/O in the past years?

I/O 2013 was a Chromebook Pixel (with or without LTE) and 1 terabyte of Google Drive space for three years.

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Is GitHub looking to be acquired?

Raising $100 million at a rumoured valuation of $750 million is not the action of a company that wants to be acquired.

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How can I sort a huge amount of numbers?

Sorting large amounts of data is one of the first exercises you’ll see described in any Hadoop or map/reduce tutorial—so I’d suggest taking a look at Hadoop.

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If you missed out on joining to work at Google and Facebook, what should you do?

Remind yourself that there will always be more opportunities, and obsessing over what might have been is a huge waste of your time.

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Why does Google use “Allow” in robots.txt, when the standard seems to be “Disallow?”

The Disallow command prevents search engines from crawling your site.

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Why is Google indexing & displaying www1 versions of my site and how might I stop this?

You should stop serving your site to the public on multiple subdomains. Configure your site to serve a 301 permanent redirect from www1-www4 to the equivalent page on www—also, make sure that your site accessed without the www redirects to the right place as well.

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What platform was YouTube using before they were acquired by Google?

It was written in Python—I don’t think they used any particular framework (they started the site in 2005).

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Does Google (company) have their own Audio Visual department for their large conferences, or do they contract another company?

I believe it’s their own in-house team—when we ran the first DjangoCon at Google’s Mountain View HQ a few years ago I understood that the video team were their own (the same team that records their internal Google Tech Talks). It might be an external company that they contract in, but it felt like they were permanent staff.

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We Need to Stop Google’s Exploitation of Open Communities. Mikel Maron from OpenStreetMap is justifiably angry about Google MapMaker, which copies OpenStreetMap’s model of crowdsourcing geographic data (even copying the OSM idea of Mapping Parties) but keeps the data under a much more restrictive license, and uses the Google brand to market itself to African governments. # 22nd April 2011, 10 am

Why Facebook open-sourced its datacenters. Jon Stokes speculates that Facebook plan to use open source hardware to compete with Google at datacenter efficiency . This isn’t a new pattern. Years ago when I worked at Yahoo! I was furiously jealous of the secret sauce technologies that allowed Google to build big applications faster than anyone else, such as BigTable and map/reduce. Today, the open source world has created better, free alternatives—sponsored in part by Facebook, Yahoo! and other Google competitors. # 9th April 2011, 7:54 am

Is a relational database with many-to-many relationships difficult to develop into a web app?

Many to Many tables can be a bit of a pain to deal with using regular SQL, but a good ORM can abstract away any potential complexity almost entirely. I find using the Django ORM means I’m much less likely to shy away from a design that involves a many-to-many relationship because I know it won’t increase the complexity of the application. I imagine the Rails ORM has the same effect.

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Google APIs & Developer Products. Presented as a sort-of-periodic table. There’s quite a bit of stuff on here I didn’t know about. # 28th January 2011, 11:25 am

Getting Started—Google URL Shortener API. The API for the URL shortener is really nice—no API key required, easy to create a short URL and you can retrieve detailed stats breakdowns (similar to as JSON for any URL. # 13th January 2011, 3:49 am

Why did Google Wave fail to get significant user adoption?

When Wave first launched, individual Waves didn’t have a URL. This made it impossible to link to them from outside of Wave—people were having to say “log in to Wave, then search for X”. If you can’t link to something on the internet, it may as well not exist.

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Google and Microsoft Cheat on Slow-Start. Should You? Fascinating optimisation tricks by some of the big websites, which violate the RFC governing the TCP slow-start algorithm in order to perform better in the common case. # 3rd December 2010, 7:03 pm

Is it not time for Google to redesign its search page by removing the “search” & “I’m Feeling Lucky” buttons since the buttons are now useless with the new “Instant” structure?

I don’t think so. The “Search” button defines their entire purpose. The “I’m Feeling Lucky” button is an important part of their brand.

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Closure Compiler Service (via) A hosted version of the Google Closure Compiler (JavaScript minifier) running on App Engine. It has both a user interface and a REST API, which means you can use it as part of an automated build process without needing to set up a local copy of the software. # 9th August 2010, 1:17 pm

App Engine at Google I/O 2010. OpenID and OAuth are now baked in to the AppEngine users API. They’re also demoing two very exciting new features—a mapper API for doing map/reduce style queries against the data store, and a Channel API for building comet applications. # 20th May 2010, 3:30 pm

Google Font Directory: Font Preview. Handy tool for trying out the 18 open source fonts Google have released, along with server-side browser sniffing technology that serves up the correct version (including for IE6). The browser sniffing makes me a bit uncomfortable—will it play well with intermediate caches? What happens if I save a local copy of a page and then open it up in a different browser? # 20th May 2010, 3:20 pm